My product management toolkit (12): My 90 day plan as a product person

Soon I’ll be starting a new role as a Head of Product at a great FinTech business in London. I’m very excited about the role. There’s a lot of opportunity to make an impact and influence change. But where do I start? How do I prioritise change? These questions prompted me to start thinking about my 90 day plan for this role, identifying key steps and outcomes to concentrate on. I feel that the ‘3Ps’- people, product and process — are the most logical place for me to start from:

People

Objective 1: To assess current performance and ambitions of the people in the team and across the business; identify how I can help create the perfect conditions for them to do their day jobs and grow.

Key results:

  1. Individual audit and objectives-key results (‘OKRs’) — To understand strengths, weaknesses and development areas for each team member and have translated these into clearly defined goals and a personal development plan.

Objective 2: To establish a product discipline within the wider technology function and communicate our role to the entire business within my first 90 days.

Key results:

  1. How does Product work with Technology, Design and Business Owners and why? — Agree with other ‘Heads Of’ and their respective teams on how to best integrate Product as a function, making sure the overall team structure reflects this. This agreement should be reached within 1 month from my starting, so that people have clarity about their roles and responsibilities.

Product

Objective 3: To understand the current product portfolio and its fit with the needs of (target) users and against the market(s) the company is operating in.

Key results:

  1. Overarching business and product vision — What is the long-term vision for the business and why? How does this vision translate into a product vision? Is this vision well understood and shared across the business? I will work with the rest of the product team to work out how we can best drive this vision on a day-to-day basis and flesh it out so that it becomes a key driver for our products.

Process

Objective 4: To introduce the ‘minimum viable process’ necessary to address specific organisational or product related problems which impact product development or our bottom line.

Key results:

  1. Is there a roadmap? Do we need one? — I know that some companies deliberately don’t have product roadmaps. Instead, they fully empower their product managers and engineers to liaise directly with customers and deliver against high-level strategic themes — companies like Hubspot are good examples in this respect. I, however, find having a product roadmap a very important tool in creating a product and customer centric culture across the entire business. A roadmap can be an incredibly helpful tool in conveying high level goals, milestones or themes to business stakeholders, teams and customers. I always make it clear that a product roadmap isn’t set in stone, but that it will give everyone in the business important context on what we’re looking to achieve and why.

Fig. 1 — Sample OKRs to measure and review individual performance:

Instead of:

“To launch a new mobile app”

We will make the result more objective and measurable:

“To launch a mobile app for iOS and Android by the end of September ’16 and to achieve a 2% increase in mobile conversion by the end of November ‘16.”

And make sure it’s aligned with key business objectives:

“To increase repeat purchase from 1.7 to 2.5 by 31 December ‘16.”

Fig. 2 — Product managers embedded within multi-disciplinary product teams — Taken from: https://blog.intercom.io/podcast-peter-merholz-talks-product-design/

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Taken from: http://www.slideshare.net/UXSTRAT/ux-strat-2014-peter-merholz-shaping-organizations-to-deliver-great-user-experiences

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Fig. 3 — Sample questions to ask during my first my introductory conversations in my first 90 days:

Generic questions to ask:

  • What is the overall vision of the company?

Questions about continuous improvement:

  • What does continuous improvement mean for our business and why?

Questions about technology teams and leadership:

  • How do the developers currently interact with product managers, QA, UX as part of product development?

Questions about customer experience and marketing:

  • How does marketing collaborate with product managers? When and how do marketeers get involved in the product lifecycle?

Fig. 4 — Create a simple KANO model — Taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kano_model

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Fig. 5 — Product Strategy Canvas — Taken from: https://melissaperri.com/blog/2016/07/14/what-is-good-product-strategy

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Fig. 6 — Sample high level product roadmap — Taken from: http://www.romanpichler.com/blog/goal-oriented-agile-product-roadmap/

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Related links for further learning:

  1. https://library.gv.com/how-google-sets-goals-okrs-a1f69b0b72c7#.t511t1pp0

Written by

Product at ASOS, author of "My Product Management Toolkit", family, boxing and founder of @hiphoplistings and blogging via http://t.co/uGr5nRye

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